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“The scammers will take advantage of their loneliness to show their love and passion to the victims, who will then feel as though they are falling in love.” The problem has become so prevalent in Hong Kong that police have stepped up awareness campaigns, warning women particularly not to give out personal details to online friends.
One victim, who did not wish to be identified, said she was scammed while working in Hong Kong in 2010 after meeting a man called Markus on a dating forum, who she was in contact with for six months but never met.
“If it feels too good to be true, then it is,” she said. But you can be so blinded by that hope that you can still fall prey to scammers.” And Carolyn Chan, founder of dating agency So Klose, said the Chinese cultural preoccupation with “leftover women” meant single women in their mid 30s and 40s felt pressure to get married in order to “save face”.
Follow her on Twitter @rachelblundy." data-title="Rachel Blundy" data-html="true" data-template=" Hong Kong’s gender imbalance and societal pressure on women to get married are among factors being blamed for a rise in online dating scam cases, which have increased fourfold in the city in just three years.City desk reporter covering Hong Kong community news, particularly for City Weekend.Covers environment, charity, culture, crime, politics and viral news.In 2013, a total of 55,274 marriages were registered in the city, just 52.2 per cent of which (28,837) were between two Hongkongers.This marked a decline from 2012, when 32,523 marriages were between locals.